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Setting the curve: Willie Taggart signed the best recruiting class of any new coach

The most detailed breakdown of FSU’s 2018 recruiting class.

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NCAA Football: Florida State-Willie Taggart Press Conference Glenn Beil-USA TODAY Sports

It is time to review the 2018 Florida State Seminoles football recruiting class. We do it via The Nolecast, the No. 1 FSU podcast. Listen to the show in the player below the article, or at your favorite podcast spot: Apple Podcasts (iTunes), Stitcher, Google Play Music, Soundcloud, or PodBean.

Florida State finished 11th in the nation, signing 21 players, 13 of whom are rated four- or five-stars. Signing more four- and five-stars than two-and three-stars is essentially a prerequisite for winning a ring.

It is important to compare apples to apples. The vast majority of elite players signed in the new Early Signing Period. That means that teams who made coaching changes got hosed.

Keeping that perspective, here is the good news: Florida State signed the best class of any school that made a coaching change. When Jimbo Fisher left, FSU ranked in the 60s. It finished 11th. Florida was 14th, Oregon 16th, Texas A&M 17th, etc.

Additionally, FSU under Willie Taggart had the highest per-player average at 90.91, 0.32 higher than any other class.

If grading the new coaching staffs on a curve for their transitional recruiting efforts, it is undeniable that Willie Taggart and FSU set the curve. It likely deserves an A- or a B+ if you’re into letter grades on a curve. No school with a new coach did better.

Florida State in its transitional class needed to evaluate its roster and determine which positions were sufficiently stocked, mandating only taking an elite caliber player, and which positions were lacking and needed to add a player even if it meant taking a player with lesser talent. For the most part, FSU did that.

At the same time, there is no denying that this class does not measure up to the recent recruiting standard set by Florida State. Nor was it expected to. FSU was saddled with a defined handicap this season, one which should be removed for the 2019 class. Traditionally, coaches are made or broken based on their first two full signing classes, which in actuality are the second and third they ink. The 2019 and 2020 classes will define Willie Taggart’s legacy at Florida State.

FSU seems to have done a good job balancing certainty and potential in the class as well. There are some players who simply cannot project as stars, but who could be solid depth pieces who also help academically and in the locker room (badly needed). Others have superstar potential and the potential to bust.

The show also discusses how FSU’s current players did a great job to recruit others to the program. And every player is broken down in the show.


3-star receiver Jordan Young (flipped from Tennessee)

4-star receiver Warren Thompson

3-star receiver D’Marcus Adams

3-star receiver Keyshawn Helton

4-star receiver Tre’Shaun Harrison


4-star tight end Camren McDonald


3-star running back Anthony Grant (flipped from Tennessee)


3-star T/G Christian Armstrong (early enrollee)

4-star G Christian Meadows

3-star T Jalen Goss

3-star T Chaz Neal


FSU needs to nail the QB position in 2019 Here are some targets.


4-star defensive tackle Robert Cooper

4-star end Xavier Peters

4-star DE/DT Malcolm Lamar

4-star DE/DT Dennis Briggs

3-star DE/DT Jamarcus Chatman


4-star linebacker Amari Gainer (early enrollee)


4-star safety Jaiden Woodbey (early enrollee)

4-star cornerback Anthony Lytton

4-star cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.

4-star cornerback Isaiah Bolden